April 21, 2012 Rothenberg ob der Tauber

We are staying at the unspeakably cute Burg Hotel in Rothenburg. John and I stayed here years ago and about 11 years ago I stayed here with my girlfriends, Sophie and Eileen. Big changes have happened since then. Everything has been upgraded along with the prices and the hotel has joined the Relais Silence group. But the management is the same, kind and welcoming. The only drawback is the very spotty internet.

We all meet for breakfast in the charming breakfast room that looks out over the valley. They have a lovely offering with pretzel rolls, pates, eggs, meats, etc. We drink gallons of tea (and coffee for John) as well as formulate our day’s plan. Breakfast is becoming our favorite meal of the day.

Sarah and John in the breakfast room

The weather is not cooperating and we have to pick our moments of sunshine. The altarpieces we hope to see today are influenced by the amount of light coming though the windows. Since this morning the sun is in and out and rain is forecast for the afternoon, we decide to see the most important one first, the Blood Altarpiece in St. Jacobus. It is in easy walking distance and we head out.

The display of St. Jacobus’s masterpieces has also been upgraded and an audio tour added. We look first at the main altarpiece. It is carved wood that has been painted. Although not by Tilman Riemenschneider, it is very interesting. On the wings in the back there is the story of St. James. This was painted in the 1400’s. A view of Rothenburg is included. It looks just like the town square today!

Altarpiece in St. Jacobus

A view of Rothenburg from the 1400's

The stained glass windows behind the altar are beautiful and also very early. In one scene God is raining down manna from heaven. Sarah discovers that the manna are pretzels! So in Bavaria, it’s raining pretzels.

Stained glass windows behind the altar

"It's raining pretzels, Halleluyah!"

The sun comes out and we go up to see Riemenschneider’s Blood Altar. It is unusual for the placement of Judas in the center of the Last Supper. The idea is that it is supposed to show God’s forgiveness. It is beautifully carved echoing the architecture of the church for which it was made.

Last Supper on the Blood Altarpiece

We take a look at another altarpiece in a nearby church and walk through one of the gates of the city. It is all very picturesque. I take a picture of John and Sarah by the gate,one of the mouth from which burning tar was poured over enemies and a panoramic shot of Rothenburg. There are tourists here but not as many as I feared. Perhaps the forecast of bad weather has kept many away.

Sarah and John by one of the gates to the old city

Burning tar ejector
View of Rothenburg

We travel on to Creglingen where this time we have a chance to see Riemenschneider’s Ascension Altarpiece. There are also several older art pieces. We are trapped by a large tour group who are being lectured to by their tour director. Then it’s off to lunch.

Ascension of the BVM altarpiece

Not wanting to eat at the same place as yesterday, we drive around looking for somewhere new. We find a restaurant up a hill and get inside just as the first raindrops are starting to fall. We are trying to eat a little more simply but failing.

Sarah's cheesy cheese bread

Mary's bratwurst and saurkraut
John's potato latkes with salmon

Our last stop is in Detwang, a tiny hamlet only 2 km from Rothenburg. The thousand year old church there has another Reimenschneider altarpiece. The Crucifixion Altarpiece has been cut down to fit their little space. It is an impressive work of art for such a humble little church.

A view of Detwang on a misty morning from our hotel room
The Crucifixion Altarpiece in Detwang

We are tired and repair back to the hotel for some rest. Sarah finds a workout area and decides that a little activity beyond walking and stair climbing are in order. John and I just fall asleep. Dinner tonight is in a weinstube and consists of wine or beer and some munchie platters. We are a little fooded out. Tomorrow it is off to Bayreuth.

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